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Bebop Spoken There

Jeremy Pelt: "I'm so much into melodies and into sound, and the presence of sound, that I don't necessarily want to try to play in between the cracks of a note." - (DownBeat November 2020)

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

Postage

12,000 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1140 of them this year alone and, so far, 87 this month (Oct. 27).

Coming soon ...

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON.

OCTOBER

THURSDAY 29

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Abbie Finn Trio - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity (upstairs). It’s Abbie’s birthday!

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00-10:00pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

FRIDAY 30

Neil William & Ben Holland - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity. Jazz standards from the 1920s & 30s.

SATURDAY 31

Alice Grace & Pawel Jedrzejewski - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. £10.00. Online booking (to book a table). Limited capacity. Alice & Pav join a multi-bill of entertainers (magician etc) to celebrate Prohibition Bar’s fifth anniversary. SOLD OUT!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Matt Mackellar Story - so far... Part 2 of 3.

BSH: That's your recent history. What's the story of your earlier days? Why did you choose drums? Who were your tutors? 

Matt: I had always been exposed to good music thanks to my Dad. He was always interested in the more complex side of popular music, which led me to have an appreciation for the likes of everything from Steely Dan to Jamiroquai. The first instrument I actually picked up was the guitar. I had a little toy guitar and microphone that I would use to perform songs I had learned in my church when I was very young. At around the age of 5 or 6, I started to become fascinated by the drums in church. I would always go up to the kit at the end of the service and want to have a little play. 

Deon Krishnan was really the one to first encourage me and see that I had some natural rhythm at a young age. I have an enduring memory of him teaching me my first beat on the kit and it sort of being a eureka moment. From then on my curiosity about the drums just kept growing. My parents took the decision to nurture this curiosity and invest in some lessons for me. 

My first teacher was Jeff Armstrong. I started with him at the age of 6, which was a baptism of fire in terms of my attitude towards progressing on the kit and taught me a lot about how to deal with critique and turn it into a desire to improve. He was absolutely critical in giving me a really solid technical base to my playing, and I wouldn’t have progressed nearly as much without his teaching. 

I later began lessons with Dave Lourie. Dave really pushed me to the next level with my playing, giving me a great education on playing with much more style and finesse and tailoring his teaching to my interests at a given time, which helped instil a passion for the instrument in me. 

I then began lessons with Geoff Hutchinson, who really transformed my work ethic for the instrument and helped me get a true picture of what needed to be done if I wanted to make my dream to play music as a career a reality. All of my teachers have been absolutely essential in my development and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them!

BSH: What was your practice routine back then? Your neighbours must have been very understanding!

Matt: When I first set out, I hated practicing! It felt like torture to me when I was very young. With a bit of encouragement from my parents, I would make some progress and reach small milestones. This process slowly made me realise that nothing would be achieved without putting any work in. Slowly as I grew up, I started to practice more, which my teachers would see and in response give me more challenging material to work on in order to push me forward. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I really started to enjoy practicing and start to work on not only the tasks that were given to me by my teachers but my own personal challenges. 

The final few years before I went off to college, practice became more of an obsession than a chore. I’d get home from school and just practice until curfew! Yes my neighbours were incredibly understanding. Luckily, they were close family friends and were always happy to hear me doing something that I loved doing.

BSH: You will, no doubt, recall a memorable session at the Jazz Cafe when, in addition to playing drums, you surprised many by playing guitar! Did you/do you dream of becoming a rock guitar god?! Who taught you the rudiments? 

Matt: Yeh that was a scary time… I had never played guitar publicly before that session but I was lucky to have my guitar teacher and mentor John Wilson there to support me. I’m not sure why I became interested in learning how to play guitar but I’m so glad I did. Playing a harmonic instrument really helped me develop my ear and understanding of jazz music. I was able to use this knowledge to try and inject more musicality into my drumming as I began to understand the process behind crafting a song as well as a melodic improvisation. This knowledge also really gave me a step up in learning how to compose for school and college. John was a great teacher to me and always focused on things I was interested in at that particular time; he’s also a fantastic player!

BSH: And so to Berklee. You set your sights on winning a place at the prestigious American institution. Tell us about the application process? Where did you audition - here in Britain or in the US?

(To be continued tomorrow ...)

Part One.

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